These aren’t minor concerns. A hasty impeachment could raise a host of consequences that could have a striking impact on the long-term stability of our country. The House’s article of impeachment specifies that it is for “Incitement of Insurrection.” But while the president’s words were unwise, intemperate and wrong, they may not qualify as incitement. And an impeachment on the grounds that they do will inevitably erode the norms around what may be considered constitutionally protected speech.
Additionally, a snap impeachment will undoubtedly fuel the divisions between our citizens at a time when the wounds of Jan. 6 are still raw. With the start of a new administration and a new Congress, there is a real opportunity to build bridges and unite the American people around our shared values.
Failing to do so will undermine our efforts to bring people together. It may even provide excuses and delusional incentives for those who would incite further violence. Impeachment will also consume Congress long after Mr. Trump has left office, inhibiting Congress’s ability to tackle the Covid-19 crisis, reignite our economy and other pressing issues.